How I Saved My Marriage: My Story As A Couples Therapist

by | Sep 10, 2018 | Marriage counselling, Relationship Tips, Stronger Relationships

How I Saved My Marriage

I f your relationship is in trouble, you’re not alone.

I know what you’re going through.

The fact is, my own marriage was in trouble.


Now, although my marriage was in trouble, it didn’t mean that there was nothing I could do about it.

And that is what my message to you is, no matter what is going on in your marriage or relationship, there is something you can do to save it.


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My Story

The story of my relationship begins with an e-Harmony profile and being late for our first date.

It worked out, though, because three months later my wife and I were engaged and, ten months to the day we met, we were married.

Fast forward a year, when my wife and I ran into our first crisis: my wife witnessed a terrible argument I had with my little brother that thrust my marriage into crisis.

You can read here how I figured out how to deal with anger, but that crisis took nearly two years to recover from.

My wife even admitted that she was one day away from packing her bags and leaving.

Our next crisis came a year after our first daughter was born.

My wife had returned to work and she was wondering if she’d married the right guy.

Oh, sure, I was a great dad and loving husband.

But she missed fun and laughter in our relationship.

She wasn’t alone – I missed it, too.

Luckily, I had started my graduate program in Marriage and Family Therapy, and the skills I learned there helped us work through this crisis more quickly, as my perspective on relationships had started to shift.

I was no longer looking at either my wife or myself as the source of our troubles.

Much of what we were going through had to do with what was happening in our life – our circumstances.

Two marriage crises, precisely one year after our wedding vows and one year after the birth of our first child – it’s not a coincidence.

You see, I’ve come to learn through my training and clinical experience that couples most often lose the ability to keep the ‘honeymoon’ alive when their relationship is faced with difficult circumstances and life changes.

You may be wondering, “Yeah, but lots of couples have kids and don’t divorce.”

That’s true.

But, for so many others, having kids brings enormous changes to their relationship.

I can tell you – it did mine!

For so many partners, fear, hurt, anxiety and struggle become really potent relationship killers.

Those difficulties seem insurmountable and can lead to drug or alcohol use, infidelity, lying, and so on. 

What We Can Do To Save Our Relationship

No matter what problems a marriage or relationship is facing – and they all do – we can always take action.

And, if improving your relationship is a priority for you, then action is what you must take.

Now, without oversimplifying the entire process of righting our relationship ship, here are two places you can start to change in your relationship:

First, we can shift blame onto our circumstances and away from our partners.

I’ve talked about how shifting blame for our current state of affairs away from our partner goes a long way to improving our outlook and chances of overcoming our relationship challenges.

But, let’s assume we do just that.

What happens then?

Well, when we shift blame, we take a first step towards rebuilding what we lost with our partner – the innocence of our relationship.

We remove things like guilt, shame, responsibility and culpability away from our partner.

We release our partner from obligation and allow them to be part of the solution and not the problem.

The second action we can begin taking is getting on the same page with our partner.

We can cultivate sameness.

How and why do we do that?

Well, check out the video below and see just that.

Find out what you can do to create the kind of sameness that all couples need.

But, if you think differences are what hold people together, then I’d love to know your thoughts about the great mustard-versus-ketchup-on-a-hotdog debate.

Sadly, most of us in our quest to assert our preference of one condiment over another quickly lose sight of the fact that we are all enjoying hotdogs together.

So, I say, grab a hotdog and perhaps a Coke or Pepsi (depending on what you prefer) and enjoy the video.

I know when you do, you’ll be well on your way to taking action to save your relationship and keeping your family together!

P.S. And, in case you were wondering, my wife likes ketchup and I like mustard!

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About the Author

Jonathan Van Viegen is a full-time online couple therapist and relationship mentor helping adults and couples improve one of the most important relationships in their life – the one with their partner.

Jonathan’s approach has helped 100’s of clients struggling to maintain a lasting, loving relationship while navigating the challenges of parenting. Jonathan’s goal with this blog is to offer you a behind the scenes look at his life to show that it is possible to create the kind of relationship you desire – using simple skills that anyone can learn.


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